This is Spain



Picasso did this piece for Asturian miners back in 1963, in support for the 1962-63 wave of strikes against the Franco regime. Note the miner’s lamp.

More on that strike here (in Spanish)

I became interested in this piece and started to rummage. I got this from a friend Niall Fairhead ( who is an acknowledged expert on all things Picasso.

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Title: Asturia, The Miners Lamp (s.6203)

Medium: Original Lithograph, 23/11/1963, crayon on lithographic paper, transferred to stone, signed by the artist in pencil and signed and dated in the stone . There is hand drawing by the artist in yellow and orange crayon and a further signature and sate in blue crayon 15/12/64. Presumably the lithograph was made in November 1963 and the drawing element in December 1964

Dimensions: 210 x 270 mms (Image size) ; 380 x 560 mms (Paper size)

Reference: Bloch 1578 1182 ; Mourlot 398

Published by: Editions Cercle d”Art , Paris

Condition: In good condition

Edition: 2/49

Note 1: In “Mourlot , Picasso Lithographs” there is a note which states “This lithograph was published in aid of the Asturian miners. the first 5 proofs were coloured by the artist with colouring crayons”

Note 2: Pablo Picasso was very much opposed to the fascist rule of General Franco in Spain. After the Spanish Civil War he vowed never to return to his country until after the death of the Dictator and, throughout his life he voiced his opposition to the political rule of his enemy. During the war his famous painting “Guernica” was an overt political statement but this was part of a continuing process by which Picasso expressed his views. Picasso made this print in support of the miners who struck against the dictator in 1962.

On April 7 1962 miners from Nicolasa mine, in Asturias, declared a strike. The following day they were followed by their colleagues in Baltasara, later by the miners of Polio and a week later the whole Caudal Valley was on strike. On Monday the 16th the strike spread to Turo’n and later to the Nalo’n Valley, with 60,000 workers striking. The slogan used by the miners was “General salary raises and solidarity with our comrades”. At the time Spain was ruled by General Franco who responded with detentions, beatings of workers and their women and other outrages. Other regions of the country, such as the mining and iron areas of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa came out in sympathy with the Asturia miners and on May 4 the government declared a state of emergency in the provinces. However nothing could stop the miners and on May 24 the Official State Bulletin agreed to the strikers’ demands. For the first time under Franquism a mass workers movement had won. The struggle had international implications. Intellectuals published a manifesto denouncing the torture of miners’ wives. In the following years conflicts continued intermittently in the Asturies mining areas. In 1965 a miners’ demonstration in Mieres demanding freedom for some prisoners ended with the assault on a local police station, an event unheard of under franquism. Faced with serious losses in the mining enterprises, the Franco government decided to nationalise most of the mines, creating the mega enterprise Hunosa, which harboured the majority of asturian mining operations.

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